10 Urban Legends That Will Leave You Having Nightmares!

Urban Legends were created from fear and subliminal lessons to follow. They were scary stories before scary stories were even a thing! Read on to get spooked! 

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A reddish hand reaching from under the bed

If you are unfamiliar with Urban Legends, it’s the mother of creepypastas. Instead of it getting passed through the interwebs, the stories are shared by word of mouth, and the stories can range up to being hundred years old! These horror tales are short but powerful enough to leave a lasting impression.

Here are some stories you can share around a campfire, sleepover, or maybe an upcoming spooky holiday!

1. The Legend of La Sayona

Urban Legends: The Legend of Sayona. She wears a white dress with three skulls at her feet
IMAGE VIA PINTEREST

This urban Legend was born in South America, Valenzuela. In this tale of terror, we meet a young woman, Casilda. She’s got it all: beauty, a fantastic husband, and a growing family. Although, unaware, Casilda had a stalker, and out of jealousy, he spread a lie that her husband was cheating on Casilda with her mother! Enraged, she burns her house to the ground with her husband still inside. 

She then goes to her mother’s house and kills her, but before the mother ascends to Heaven, she curses her daughter. She tells her daughter that she will now have to avenge all women by killing their unfaithful husbands.

From then on, she was known as “La Sayona.” The name “sayonara” refers to the long white dress she wears. La Sayona kills anybody who gives into temptation. Legend says that when she sees you, she’ll either ask for a ride or a cigarette. When the victim tries to look at her face, they notice that her head is just a skull with sharp teeth! 

2. Humans Can Lick Too!

humans-can-lick-too photo on the side of the door
IMAGE VIA RANKER.COM

I was deeply disturbed when I first heard this story at the age of nine. And for once, I was happy that under my bed had shoes and junk compacted below. You’ll understand why soon… 

From my recount, the story opens with a teenage girl home alone in her room. Her dog enjoys sleeping under her bed. On the news, it’s revealed a criminal has escaped prison. 

Before she goes to sleep, she allows her furry friend to lick her hand by reaching under her bed. Every once in a while, during the night, she hears a dripping sound. She thinks it’s just her bathroom sink, so to soothe her back to sleep, she sticks out her hand for her dog to lick. He does so. 

This happens a few times. The girl wakes up in the middle of the night and has her dog lick her hand. By the third time, she has had enough and decides to go to her bathroom to turn off the facet. To her horror, she sees her beloved dog hanging from the shower head. As she turns around, she sees a message on her bathroom wall with her dog’s blood that reads, “Humans Can Lick Too”.

Writing this out still terrifies me to this day! This urban Legend originated in England and first appeared in Dearman Birchall’s diary on August 11, 1871. One of his guests’ wives thinks a robber is underneath their bed. Though John claims it’s just a dog because he reached out to it, the man’s hand was licked. But the following day, all their jewels and valuables were taken.

3. Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light? 

Supernatural show still of a wall saying "aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light"
IMAGE VIA PINTEREST/SUPERNATURAL TV SHOW

The great part about Urban Legends is small details can be changed, and it doesn’t affect the story. It’s still absolutely terrifying! In Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light, I was told there were two opposite roommates. One went out to a party, and the other stayed at home.

The roommate who stayed at home wakes up in the middle of the night and hears her roommate making some noise under her blanket. She thinks she might just be coming back to the party, so she ignores the sounds and gets some z’s. 

The next morning, half awake, she rips the covers off her roommate’s bed to wake her up. To her shock, her roommate is dead! She notices, written in blood on the far wall, “Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light?”

This horror story was passed around in the 90s and involved studious students rather than one partygoer from the story I heard.

4. Killer in the Backseat

Girl looking through the rearview mirror in the dark. Killer in the backseat
IMAGE VIA TV TROPES

A girl pumps some gas in her tank, and a car begins to follow her as she leaves. The car behind her begins to flash its headlights periodically. As she looks back, the lights turn off. She soon grows paranoid, but she continues to drive home.

As she reaches her house, the man in the other car exits his vehicle. Terrified, she cries, “leave me alone!” He explains that he was only following her because someone was trying to stab them in the back seat, and every time he flashed his lights, the man would hide when she turned to look behind.

Spooky right? This story originated in Indiana, United States, in 1968. There are many variations, but one worth mentioning is instead of a man following her, a person comes out of nowhere and screams at a woman while she’s driving.

The woman goes straight to the police station for help, and when they walk with her to get her things from the car, they find the killer hiding in the backseat. The person screaming was actually a ghost trying to warn the woman of the man in her car.

5. Dearg Due. “Bloodsucker”

Picture of Dearg Due in red drawing with her ribcage slightly showing.
IMAGE VIA NINE ARROW

Although a scary story, it’s a bit of a tearjerker if you ask me. This Irish Urban Legend is about a girl who falls in love with a peasant boy. However, because of the class difference, her father refuses to give his blessing and instead arranges with a rich man. Cliché, right?

Things only get worse. Her new husband is highly abusive and terrorizes his wife every day. He would press a knife against her neck and draw blood as punishment. Any hope of her true love coming to save her from this hell quickly leaves her, and she soon succumbs to death. At her funeral, her husband has already taken a new wife. 

That night, she rises from her grave out of anger and revenge. She first goes to her father’s home and kills him in his sleep. She then ventures to her husband’s home and finds him in bed with many women. She sucks his blood dry, killing him in the process. With the blood in her system, she feels empowered to continue in her quest to lure young men to her so she can feast on their blood. 

Is anyone else seeing a pattern of beautiful young women terrorized by gratuitous men? Same!

6. Madam Koi Koi 

graphic design of Madam Koi Koi walking upstairs (red and black coloring) On the side it reads "The Legend of Madam Koi Koi"
IMAGE VIA ZIKOKO

There’s always that one teacher who makes your life a living hell. Madam Koi Koi was that woman. This story circulated in Africa, primarily from the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa. 

 Madam Koi Koi (Madam High Heel) taught at a boarding school. Every day she wore bright red heels. While she was beautiful (aren’t all the women in these stories beautiful?), she was a wicked teacher, constantly abusing her students. She went as far as slapping a girl so hard her ear went deaf! Consequently, she was finally fired.

Now depending on who is telling the story, her death varies. In the Nigerian version, she gets hit by a car. But in other renditions, when Madam Koi Koi is walking home from work, her old students gang up and beat her to death.  

As a spirit, she haunts the school in revenge, and ultimately the students who participated in the murder suddenly disappear slowly. The only one who survived was a kid who hit her with a shoe for whatever reason.

7. The Clown Statue

Picture of a creepy statue like clown. The Clown Statue.
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A babysitter is taking care of some kids at this fancy house, and everything appears fine except for one abnormality. There is a creepy Clown Statue that unnerves the sitter.

She moves the kids upstairs while she dials the parents to tell them they will stay in their bedroom because the clown is creeping her out. Alarmed, the parents order her to grab the children and leave the house because they don’t own a clown statue. Come to find out, it was a man who escaped prison. Depending on who is telling the story, the babysitter and the kids may make it out alive.

This Legend was created from a fatal murder on March 18, 1950, of Janett Christman. She was babysitting and was brutally murdered. Since no motives or suspects were unveiled, people began to create their own narratives. 

8. When a Stranger Calls

Picture of side by side of the main lead actresses from the movies When a Stranger Calls in 1979 and 2006. Horror movies.
IMAGE VIA SCREENRANT

Speaking of babysitter murderers, we have another grueling tale. Janett Christman also inspired this Urban Legend. You may have seen the 1979 film adaptation or the 2006 iteration. A girl receives calls from an unknown number while babysitting. She receives calls while doing her homework in the living room. At first, all she can hear is breathing. By the third call, a man’s voice says, “Have you checked the children?” Alarmed by this question, she calls the police. 

They believe it to be a prank call, so she continues her work. This is until she receives another call, and the voice says, “Why haven’t you checked the children?” She hangs up again and calls the police, begging for help! They reassure her it’s just teenagers pulling a prank, but they decide to trace the call if they happen to call again.

Of course, the mysterious man calls again, and she asks, “Why are you doing this?” His response is, “To see your blood all over me.” She hangs up in utter disgust, but the phone rings once more. It’s the police! They inform her the call is coming from inside the house! She can escape the horror just in the nick of time, but sadly the children were brutally murdered.

9. Tomino’s Hell

Creepy photo of Tomino's Hell. Picture what we assume is Tomino-- big black eyes, black lips, pale skin, reddish hair. It is a horror drawing.
IMAGE VIA GOODREADS

Now reading up on this one terrified me because I’m a little superstitious, but legends say you should not read Saijō Yaso’s poem “Tomino’s Hell” out loud, or you will die a horrible suffering death. This Legend originated in Japan (1919).

The poem’s contents are about a young boy named Tomino who was in love with his younger sister and lost his soul to Hell. To get it back, Tomino descends into Hell. He sees both of his sisters encouraging him while they spit up blood and catch on fire. He travels through all seven valleys of Hell until reaching the eighth, which is the most painful. However, Tomino doesn’t get his soul back and dies, never seeing his family again. 

10. The Night Marchers

Picture of the night marchers on the street.
IMAGE VIA PACIFIC WORLDS

The Night Marchers are warriors that roam the Hawaiian islands late at night and protect the highest-ranking chiefs. Although they don’t go out of their way to murder, you are marked for death if you connect your eyes with them. 

Luckily, they tend to make their presence known. They’ll carry torches and march to the sounds of loud, beating drums. They’re pretty harmless, but everyone knows not to mess with them. So if you live in Hawaii or decide to vacation late at night, run away if you hear the beat of drums and torches held by muscular beings!

You may learn a lesson from each Urban Legend, or perhaps you’ll have nightmares because of the stories! With each Legend told, a variation is implemented by the storyteller. That’s the beauty of Urban Legends, after all! They can still be as terrifying if said in a slightly different way.

Do you want more scary stories? No worries, we got you covered here!

IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/SIERRA JACKSON